The Sublime Story

Sublime was founded in 2005, but the grand opening was celebrated a few months later on the 18th of February 2006. In celebration of the anniversary of the grand opening, we thought we’d share a brief snapshot of the history of Sublime Coffee Roasters...

It all started with a living room converted to a small business, and our OG espresso bar on Haven Road was born. Dan was a barista by day and a roaster by night. They were long days fuelled by espresso. Slowly but surely a collection of regulars developed, intrigued to see the changes happening inside the cottage and the smells wafting out of the coffee roaster that was fixed to the inside wall. Customers could wander in, sip away on a flat white, chat with other locals as they passed by, and watch coffee roasting in action. The meeting and greeting, good tunes and industry insider feels are still part of everyday Sublime action to this day! At this point, Emma was still teaching full time to help pay the bills and moonlighting as a barista on the weekends. These weekends were great fun… even little Hinemoana and Zeb were involved in bean blending, packing, and taking coffee orders when you could hardly see their faces over the till. A true family business! It became evident that Dan’s concept of bringing the craft of coffee roasting close to the community was an interactive experience people enjoyed, and had gained enough momentum to require both Dan and Emma to focus full time on the business.

Steadily, Sublime built up a band of wholesale cafe outlets to serve up Sublime goodness and eventually the coffee demand outgrew what the Haven Road roaster could produce. We took a punt and built our bigger coffee roaster from the ground up. Mike, our Master Roaster, would cart green beans over to Motueka and roast them in a container on the outskirts of town. The roasted beans would travel back to Sublime Haven Road and be packaged up and distributed to spots in the top of the south, often hand delivered by Emma and Dan with kids in tow. 

In the middle of 2013 we moved the roasting plant into our first designated coffee roasting space in Gloucester Street. Finally we had a place that was big enough to have our coffee roasting space, bean storage, dispatch zone, cupping room and workshop all under one roof. On summer afternoons we’d push all of the machinery out of the way and clear a space for a team handball court. It was highly competitive and we had great fun!

One of the early team members of Sublime Haven Road, Dan Horrell, had the Sublime bug and the travel bug — so in mid 2016 he took our handmade fluid bed roaster to open a Sublime branch in Adelaide. August 2016 also marked our first New Zealand expansion. Sublime Palmerston North is our North Island espresso bar and distribution hub for our North Island wholesale friends. It was a busy few months for Sublime! 

In 2018 the opportunity arose to open a Sublime espresso bar in the new Nelson Airport. We’re stoked to be at the gateway to the beautiful region where it all started for us!

In September 2019 we opened the doors to our New Street roastery. The front of the building houses a Brew Bar where you can try our blends and single origins through different slow brew methods. Dan’s dream that started in Haven Road of bringing the spectacle of coffee roasting to the community has continued. The coffee roaster sits in the center of the building and coffee lovers are encouraged to come right up close to see the roasting in action. It’s a hive of activity, and there's always someone around with time to chat about coffee with interested keen beans!

Over the course of seventeen years, Sublime Coffee Roasters has evolved as a true family business. Dan and Emma love working together and their four kids Hinemoana, Zeb, Lila and Scarlett have grown up alongside Sublime. The eldest two have worked in many facets of the business. Hinemoana has taken the reins with marketing and design and Zeb has spent many hours behind the roaster! The Sublime whānau also encompasses our expert operators focused on roasting, training and service and stellar baristas who sling ripper coffees all day long, as well as an ever expanding clan of exceptional wholesale cafe outlets. It takes all of us working together to churn out tonnes of coffee each week to bring Sublime deliciousness to your cup.  

We are proud to be a New Zealand family business. The love and attention we give to our product and service has remained the same from those first few weeks when we would make two to five flat whites a day, right through to the bustling coffee hustle Sublime is today. 

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